Using Parenting Mistakes As Teachable Moments With Your Exceptional Child

parenting mistakes.jpeg

Every parent’s dream is to have a successful parenting moment or moments that they can use to teach their exceptional child, and most of us do use those moments. But what about those not so successful parenting moments, the blunders, where we do exactly what we  know NOT to do and are told NOT to do? How can we turn things around? I used to spend hours and days berating myself when I had those parenting moments with Michael. I would beat myself up thinking that I know better, so why don’t I do better. And what would happen? Well, I would pretty much lose the opportunity to teach Michael from my mistakes and make it a smooth learning experience for both of us. Now, and especially in the last few years, I know better. I use my parenting mistakes as guideposts to learn from and teach Michael to learn from.

Some of these mistakes have been reacting to Michael’s attention seeking outbursts when ignoring would have been better, letting my emotions escalate as Michael’s did instead of being the adult in the relationship, and not picking my battles properly with Michael. Sometimes it is easier to give in on a small inconsequential thing that will save time and energy for the bigger parenting hurdles with an exceptional child. But now I know differently, and even when I have the occasional setbacks like the holiday season when I was stressed and overreacted to things, I would always find a way to turn things around by showing Michael how both of us, all people, can learn from mistakes and move on. We have recently devised some family rules on how we need to treat one another, all of us, and when we make a mistake and get upset, how it is important to apologize and take time to calm down on our own, to regroup, before moving forward with the rest of the day and evening.  The other day Michael was able to tell me, “Mommy, I don’t like when you kiss my hair. Kiss my cheek please,” in response to me having an affectionate moment with him. I had told him that we respect each other’s body space and tell each other honestly where we are and are not comfortable. I was happy that he was communicating and I was learning from my mistake of not checking with him first, “can I kiss your hair instead of cheek,” as I had always asked him to check with us, if we wanted a hug at that particular moment. There were other moments where I lost my temper and yelled at him then immediately realized staying calm would have been better. I told him so. “Mommy needed to take a time out before yelling. Next time I will do that.”

Lately, Michael has either been catching himself after a rude comment or aggressive gesture and saying, “sorry Mommy. That was wrong.” Or has even been able to stop himself before engaging in a negative behavior. That is still slow coming, but we are getting there slowly. I, for my part, don’t view my parenting mistakes as horrible occurrences anymore. Of course, I try to not make mistakes and/or learn from them on my own time. But if it happens that I make a parenting blunder when I am disciplining Michael, I remind myself that I am a human being. I will make mistakes. I will recover. I will learn from them. If Michael sees me doing this, it will mean he too will see that he can learn from mistakes and that all is not lost.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever felt defeated by parenting mistakes done in front of your Exceptional Child? Remember, there is no need to feel like you are failing. If your kids see you bounce back from your parenting mistakes where you and they can learn, they will learn that bouncing  back from mistakes is a normal part of human experience and that they can bounce back  and learn from their own mistakes too. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

 

Advertisements

5 Ways To Teach Your Exceptional Child To Handle Social Anxiety

boy nervous.jpeg

Every day all of us have to deal with people. In one way or another, we need to be able to communicate our needs, be clear, calm, and concise. Also, as  human beings, as social creatures, need to be able to get along with other human beings. This is as important for children as it is for adults. This is something that is truly difficult for a lot of exceptional kids. Anxiety eats away at them all day long, and dealing with their own emotions can be overwhelming, never mind handling talking to and interacting with other people.

Michael, like most exceptional kids, is challenged socially, and not in the way you think. He is extremely social in general, but it is super difficult for him to make friends and interact with new kids. With adults it is a little easier, but even then he will tend to freeze up and often fight me to go into new social situations. We have this issue sometimes with new extracurricular activities or summer camps where he does not know anybody. He will get nervous about going, and we will have to remind him how he will be fine if he uses his strategies.

But what kind of  strategies work for Michael and a lot of exceptional kids? Here are 5 that our family uses and that work for many exceptional kids:

  1. Do a family Google expedition to find strategies or get them to find strategies: If your child loves doing searches on Google (and/or you do) the two of you can look for videos or pictures that can help your child put a picture to their feelings. Once they can do that, it will be easier for them to figure out what can help them try something to calm down, especially with you at their side. They will feel empowered by looking on their own too.
  2. Write a Social Anxiety Story for your child: If they are older and respond to stories, try writing a social story that can briefly explain to your child what they are feeling and, as their parent you know them best, what they can do or change to feel better.
  3. Write a Comic Strip where your child conquers their anxiety: This is similar to a social story, and your child has the starring role as well. You could do a panel by panel description of what they are battling, what they try, what works, and show them victorious over their fear in the end.
  4. Do role playing with them pretending you are a potential friend: Again, they need to be older, but you can act out what a social encounter is and help them find the words they would need to use when meeting someone for the first time and how to express themselves in a situation that may be challenging.
  5. Expose them to new situations regularly: This is a tough one and you will get LOTS of protest, but it is important to throw challenges (within reason), your child’s way so that they can conquer fears on a regular basis. Encourage and gradually bring new situations their way. You will see how much easier things will get if they are constantly exposed to new things and people. They will learn to slowly get out of their comfort zone into something new.

Exceptional Parents, what has worked for your child to bring them out of their shell? What has NOT worked? Remember, you are the best judge of how far and fast to push your child into trying new things to conquer social anxiety. Always trust that you know best. You are their number one advocate. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

5 Ways To Handle When Your Exceptional Child Triggers You-Become “The Observer”

 

observer.jpeg

Before I  had children, I used to never really think about my own personal triggers before I became angry, upset or scared. I would always have good intentions to look into it and resolve those issues so that I could gain insight and grow as a person. But you know, life gets in the way if we let it. Most of us are also stuck in some form of denial and it’s only after breaking through that, that we can truly grow. Enter children. Now you are the example they follow. You are the mirror, for better or worse. At the beginning how I tried to be a flawless, sparkling perfect mirror with no smudges, especially after I learned my child had special challenges. I’d better rise to that challenge and be perfect no matter what. Instead, I would keep getting triggered, sometimes intentionally by him or others, sometimes unintentionally and losing a lot of time and energy being angry, fearful, depressed. I’d finally had enough when I sought therapy four years ago, and as I’ve said before, it was the best decision of my life.

However, being triggered and having my own behaviors, well working on that is a process even today. I think it is for all us Moms, Dads and even those of us who aren’t parents. We all have emotional baggage that we need to sift through in order to grow stronger and healthier. What I have learned though, is to stand back and be on the detached side if I can say that, while observing myself interacting with Michael. On the days things go well, I see what I am doing right. On the days things go wrong, I have also learned to see a pattern. I have learned to be this “other observer” if you will from practicing meditation for the last five years. Once you learn to stand outside yourself and look in, the results are incredible. Through therapy, I also learned how to laugh at myself when I was in frizzle frazzle mode.  This is ESSENTIAL as  a parent. If you can’t laugh at mistakes, you can’t learn and move on. But how do you learn to do this? Here are 5 ways:

  1. Stop and observe: When your child is acting up or tantrum mode, just take a moment to stop and see what is happening-really happening. What is your child trying to communicate? It is amazing what you will you find.
  2. Listen to what they are saying: If you do this, you will see that what your child needs is a calm neutral force to bring them back to themselves once they’ve worn themselves out with the tantrum or episode. You will also gain a new insight and respect for this little person still learning to control their emotions.
  3. Listen to your inner body: When you take the time to listen to your breathing, pain in your body or stress, you will know what you need to reign in so that you can focus on your child so that they can calm down.
  4. Think before you react: This is SO hard. Most parents, (myself included) will tend to react to a child’s temper, whining, or any other type of stress with our own stress if we are not in balance. Being in balance means that we have met our own emotional needs on a regular basis so that we could be there for our child.
  5. Speak your truth whatever it is: This is harder to do, and is not to be done when your child is having a melt down. This is to be done when you are alone, in therapy or with close family and friends. You share your issues, work through them, and are honest with yourself about where you need to grow.

Exceptional Parents,  have you ever had the experience of standing outside of yourself as an “observer” of who you are you and what you are doing? It’s intense, a little surreal, and so incredibly powerful. What you will find is how much of us gets tangled up in our stories when we need to focus on the here and now, and the people in the here and now. So be in the moment with your child and yourself. It is a powerful lesson and one that will help you pull through very intense emotional moments with ease. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

How To Get Your Exceptional Child Out There In the Winter Time

snowman.jpeg

Granted the last few days have not been conducive to doing anything fun outdoors due to the ice and cold in our area, but when those conditions are not too intense, Michael and I have found lots of fun things to do outside to keep our energy up, our spirits up, and our physical exercise needs met. When this doesn’t happen, parents and children get cranky. Being cooped up indoors is certainly not fun, whether you are exceptional or not! But when the weather is cooperating, I love to get outdoors with Michael especially at this time of the year and celebrate the beauty that our winter in Canada can be (when temperatures cooperate)  So what do we do in winter to pass the time? Here are a few of our favorite activities:

1) Sledding: Going sledding outside is a great activity when energy is high and weather is mild. Pick any hill close by to your home or even a little farther away. You can make a day of it if there is a longer drive and sledding expedition ahead. Also think, winter carnivals! Most municipalities have them.

2) Skating: Indoor or outdoor skating can be a fun treat. If your child is not too comfortable skating, the indoor rinks usually have little walker-like accessories they can use to hold on to to get their footing.

3) Taking a walk outside:  For some children who may have motor difficulties or issues with skating or sledding due to sensory issues, taking a walk can be excellent as it provides physical movement for parent and child and it something fun and economical to do for the family. You can even putt them in a sled and a go for walk if they are young enough!

4) Building a Snowman: We have yet to do this this year as Michael is older, but one of our favorite family activities is building a snowman in our backyard or front. It marks the winter for us for sure!

5) Cross Country Skiing: We have yet to try this activity, but apparently there are lots of places where you can rent skis as a family and try cross country skiing. It is great exercise and very cost effective too.

Exceptional Parents, what are your favorite winter activities that you do with your Exceptional Child? If you are having trouble getting your child out there, start with a little outing where you are just standing outside catching snowflakes on your tongue. Progress to touching and playing with snow, and go from there. In time, your child will see how much fun it can be playing in snow and making the best out of winter. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouraging The Positive In Your Exceptional Child By Pointing Out The Good Moments

positive child.jpeg

When things are rough at home, it is sometimes hard for me to remember to praise the good moments I have with Michael. Those good moments though do happen, and often enough, if I look for them. That is why I have a new phrase that I use with Michael, even when we’ve had those rough weeks. That phrase is the following: Where is the Michael I like seeing, the one who listens, stays calms and tells me how he feels? or when he has listened, Now this is the Michael I like to see!  It has helped Michael a lot to hear these words. It will either keep good behavior on target, or help him change his trajectory. It’s something I keep in mind during the tough weeks.

I also am learning how to praise the positive in myself, and when I am not at my best, I openly practice my strategies on how to get in a better head space by deep breathing, retreating to a quiet corner of the house to close my eyes and do a quiet meditation or reflection, or even just journal a bit. I find this process is helping Michael handle things better as well. This evening he was stressed and upset about something that happened at school. He had been behaving inappropriately, and as we usually do in our house, there are consequences for that. Those consequences were the loss of the rest of audio visual time as he was making bad video choices, then due to swearing and disrespect towards us I told him no bedtime story and massage. He needed to calm down, and when he was ready he could talk to us. After much fanfare, he did some deep breathing, looked at some strategies we had written down, and proceeded to calm down. When he was calm I heard him talking to Dad about how sad he was about something that had happened at school. Then I was in my office taking a breather from the emotional night. He came downstairs to find me. I had just been about to go upstairs and ask him if he wanted to talk.

meditation.jpeg

He told me about how upset he was to have been separated from a friend in school in the classroom due to being silly with him.  He said he hated school, something I had never heard him say! I asked him if he thought it was appropriate to be silly with his friend when the teacher asked him not to. He said no, but he was still really angry. I told him he needed to learn to handle anger and any feelings it brought up. Life was about getting along peacefully with those around us, and learning to handle stress and anxiety. We had a long chat about this, and he not only calmed down, but apologized for his behavior. He said he would try harder to listen the next night to get his story and massage. I forgave him. We hugged. And after Dad did his insulin injection for the night, I went after he finished watching his meditation video and put on his relaxation music, to hug him and say goodnight. I said a short prayer and left.

I made sure to praise the good things of the day and talk about the fun things we would do the next day which happens to be a PED DAY that I am home with him. I truly believe in the importance of praising the good. The more we do that , the more we encourage that in our children. It’s the same principle with us.

Exceptional Parents, do you comment on when your Exceptional Child is behaving and making good choices or only speak about the negative times? It is ok if you forget. We are all guilty of addressing only the negative. It seems to stand out more in our minds. But remember, by harnessing the positive in your child, you will bring out more of that behavior. Most kids want to do good, but don’t know how. Show them. If you need other tools and professionals’ help get that help. Your child has a gift to offer the world. The only way they will be able to bring that forward is if they learn to let their own light shine. You are there to help them light it. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Embracing Your Fear and Why It Makes For Better Exceptional Parenting

conquering.jpeg

I used to be so afraid of everything. I used to be afraid of taking risks, trying new things, meeting new people, and most importantly, I feared fear itself. Yep. It describes a lot of people. What changed for me? Michael. You see, once you have a child that you have to fight for every step along the way, facing fear becomes second nature. Your Momma tiger is ready and steady at the wheel, and you don’t mess with her. But then there are those moments when life tests you. You get sick. Your child gets sick. You lose a job. You lose a friend. Life throws you such a curveball you are thrown off your feet into the air and don’t know where you will land. This is when if you are brave enough, and not many of us are in the moment, to say, “Ok life give me all you got.” And this is a process. I am only now starting to understand this process. We all have things that make us cringe or frighten us. The sooner we learn to master them, they will no longer master us. For me it has been both holding on to things that I must let go of and learning to trust that the Universe has my back even when I don’t understand what the heck it is telling me.

Now that I am learning how to master my fear, it has been a little easier to help Michael slowly learn to master his. I have great therapy help for him too which also give me new insight. Most of it has been for Michael. Some of it has been for me. What are the triggers Michael is setting off in me when I get upset? What is he unleashing that I am holding on to so tightly? Then the answer came. It was so obvious. Me feeling out of control and not trusting that the Universe  and God would give me tools and send me people to help him and me. Let me tell you something parents. The Universe has yet to let me down in either of these areas. It is when I let my control of the situation go and stopped trying to micromanage my son that things have turned out. It is also when I have prayed hard and asked for help in the wonderful parenting community I have experienced out there, that help has come. Hmm. Funny how the two things I have personally struggled with are now things I am able to work through in parenting Michael. There are days I don’t want to work on this. There are days I have screamed in frustration, “I am not up for this anymore. Send me another Mom to take over.” But each and every time the answer comes back, “This is what you are made for. He is made for you and you for him. You can do this.”

Exceptional Parents, are you embracing your biggest fears in parenting your Exceptional Child? Do you feel like giving up sometimes? Remember, reach out and accept that your fears and your child’s are helping you both conquer your weaknesses and become stronger together. Also remember that when you often feel most alone in your struggles as a parent of an exceptional child,  is when you are least alone. Listen to the signs around you that will show you how best to help your child and yourself. You and they are worth every struggle and fight. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

Gratitude In The Face Of Struggle-More Teachings From My Exceptional Child

happiness  after struggle.jpeg

Michael and I have had our our hard times an our easy times. We have laughed and cried together. And boy, have we grown. I have seen how much Michael has grown up in the last year, and me too. Well actually, I am still growing, learning about how to be a better more patient Mom, love myself more as an individual and let things go. Letting things go has always been hard for me. It is still challenging as I can be a little on the obsessive side, but Michael has shown me over the years that sometimes you have to ride things out. Worrying does you no good. Letting go means letting go of the control we think we have over every part of our life. We don’t have that. We can control many times in ourselves. But we can’t control other people. We can control how we react to what other people say or do and realize that life tests us in many ways to help us become stronger.

Our family has had its first gastro virus in about five years. We have been fortunate to avoid it for a long time, and this year, Michael’s first year with diabetes, is the year it came into the house. Dad and I were scared as we were warned that it could become dangerous, but thanks to our terrific team at our local Children’s Hospital, Michael is slowly recovering. When it hit, we were so scared, but I decided to put into practice gratitude. What? How can a person be grateful for sickness. Well, you can look at the fact that Michael had his parents here to take care of him, a good team of doctors, and though we all had it, it was milder than some of the other times this family went through this particular virus. I was also grateful for a Snow Day today, which meant Michael will not be missing as much school as he normally would, and I am grateful that I too was home today from work and able to heal.

Keeping a gratitude journal is showing me again to be happy and grateful for the little things. They are what matter in the end. We can always learn from something and become stronger for it. The conflicts I’ve had with Michael lately as well as helping him handle sickness, have taught me as much about patience and growth as they have Michael. He is a very calm and patient little sick person, but there were times today when he was panicky and scared. It’s only normal. From the patience I’ve learned as a Mom and towards myself, I was able to talk and reassure him that all would be well soon. It’s not always easy to be grateful when things take a downturn, but life is all about getting back up on your feet and trying again. Michael’s positive attitude today, even while sick, reminded me of how blessings can be viewed in a bigger way.

Exceptional Parents, what struggles with your child are you grateful for? Remember, these struggles are what make them and you stronger human beings and grow in your relationships, all of them. So next time you have a bad or rough day with your child, remember to ask yourself what can you learn from this and take away as a lesson? Be gentle with yourself and them. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

How Anxiety and Anger Go Hand In Hand For Your Exceptional Child- 5 Signs To Look Out For

anxiety child.jpeg

An ongoing battle and heartbreak for me has been seeing Michael struggle with anxiety since babyhood. An even bigger heartbreak recently with the onset of puberty, probably diabetes and who knows what else, is see how Michael’s anxiety has progressed to anger and how his anger and frustration is really fueled by his anxiety. The last two nights at bedtime I have had to physically walk out of his room and not say a proper good night because his anxiety at stalling, getting me to stay, and arguing with me if I love him or why am I mad, has gotten so bad. He has been dragging out his bedtime thirty minutes later for the last few nights, and it is all due to anxiety. I think we need to remove some things from his bedtime routine that could be causing over stimulation like some IPAD time, but it seems that everything is setting him off. What’s a parent to do? I have thought that the only thing I can do is allow for more time for him to unwind without technology, but it is more than that. I need to be able to give him room to tell me all that is bothering him in the day and help him find strategies to work through all the pent up emotions. I have learned a lot on our journey so far and from the professionals we have worked with and are working with so am happy to share them with you all.

So, what are the signs a parent could look for to see if their child’s anger is due to anxiety? Here are 5:

  1. Are they angry about things they can’t control? This is a surefire one. When you need control at all times, that is a sure sign of intense anxiety.
  2.  Are they pushing you away one moment and clinging to you the next? Another sign is the on/off child who switches emotions like car gears. That is a sign they are emotionally unregulated or have trouble with self-regulation.
  3. They are challenging you on everything: Yep. The child who fights with you over the smallest details, is a worrier and neurotic to the point that they need to learn strategies to calm down. And if they have ones that aren’t working, need to learn new ones.
  4. Do they threaten you then apologize? Again, this is all about not being able to self-regulate. It is so hard to hear terrible words coming out of your child’s mouth, but until they learn ways to cope with stress in a calm way, this is how they will handle anxiety- with anger and lashing out.
  5. They need constant reassurance: Kids who need to constantly be praised, kept busy, stimulated and can’t do it for themselves, have major issues with anxiety. CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and medication together can often be beneficial. We have done both and it has helped a lot. However, now more of each is necessary and new ways of explaining to our child how his body and brain work together.

Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with an angry anxious Exceptional Child? Are you trying to remember the last time you had a fun day or evening without having difficulty? It is so hard seeing our children suffer, and knowing that we can’t fix it as their caregivers. However, we can give them one thing to start-love and acceptance,  and label what they have as anxiety and teach them that they can find tools to empower themselves. We can also assemble a team of professionals to guide them and us on their journey of wellness. They need to know they have control where it counts, and that they can fix the problems with the right kind of help. As an Exceptional Parent, you also need to make sure you have help for you should you need it. Counseling, parent coaching and regular breaks for you, will make you that much more able to parent compassionately and lovingly. Until next time.

 

 

Exceptional Perceptions of Things-How Our Kids See Our Hurts And the Importance of Healing Them

boy with black shirt.jpeg

“Mommy, why have you been angry in the mornings since October? You are such a Grinch.”

That was my greeting the other morning from Michael. I almost laughed, but also felt discouraged. That was the last thing I was trying to come across as, but when your child is not getting up on time in the morning, then moving super slow when he is, followed by back talk and testing, well, let me tell you parents, you’d be grinches too. I took a deep breath and answered him;

“Michael, the mornings I have been grouchy were because you did not listen, often missed the school bus and I had to drive you in, and were not using your strategies to stay calm and relaxed.”

There was a pause and then he answered.

“Oh, I’m sorry Mommy. I miss you. I miss you sitting with me when I do my homework.”

I had to stop the tears coming to my eyes. In the last four months, most of our interactions have been very tense and on Michael’s part, aggressive. This was a glimpse of the child I knew was in there, but was trapped by the anxiety and fears that he could not control. I would listen briefly about his day, but usually he would get upset at me for something swear, threaten or do something inappropriate. I would give a consequence and tell him to go to his room or the couch to calm down and then it would be time for his dinner injections, dinner itself and then cleanup while he did homework.

“I would love to sit with you Michael, but when you saw bad words, are aggressive towards me, I will not stay with you. You need to remember to use your strategies.”

With the new medication Michael is on I have seen a big improvement, though he definitively needs a larger dose. He will actually stop himself most times from impulsively swearing at me or threatening and say, “I’m sorry Mommy. What strategy should I use?” We are still working on that one. But it is getting better. And though he does not like to lose privileges, he is beginning to understand that inappropriate behavior has inappropriate consequences.

doing homework

Last night was a perfect example how he greeted me at the door with a bad attitude and lost a first fun activity. Then, when I reminded him what else was at stake, time with me and IPAD he changed his attitude and we had a great evening. I made sure to spend lots of time with him as did Dad, and we praised the great homework he did and the fact that he transitioned to his bedtime routine with no issues. I also told him how proud of him I was.

“Really Mommy?”

“Of course Michael. You know how smart you are and how many talents you have, but you need to learn to control your emotions. That is what will help you be successful.”

“Ok Mommy, but will you help me find them?”

“Yes, Michael. All of us on team Michael are helping you.”

He likes when I use the terms “Team Michael” to refer to his team at his adapted school, as well as his pediatrician, psychiatrist and educator who are part of our home team. I feel blessed to have them as support for Michael and us. In the end, it’s all about bringing forth the amazing human being Michael is and what he has to offer, minus the behaviors and anxiety which are holding him back now from so much.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you really looked at your child even when they were acting out and thought this is not who they really are? It’s hard. We see the behavior. It’s scary. And we think our child is this monster. They are not. They are victims of their behavior.  And they trigger our own feelings of helplessness, anger and anxiety. They need to be taught to manage their inner monsters. For some behavioral modifications alone are enough. For others, medical and behavioral interventions are necessary. No matter what, at the center of all initiatives  to helping your child succeed at life is to never forget that you love them more than anything and that they are incredible little people who will do great things. Give them the chance by getting them the help to be their best selves.  And as parents, we too need to heal and handle our own inner monsters to be our best selves too. Our kids help us see where to heal. Then it’s up to us to take the next step to do that for us and for them. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

Seeing The Purpose Of Behavior- What Do They Serve?

behaviors.jpeg

Ah behaviors. Every parent of every exceptional child has and will experience these things and be thrown for a loop with them. Sometimes it is as clear as day why the child is acting up in a rude or aggressive way. Other times it seems to come out of the blue. Of course, there is always a reason, only as parents we cannot see it. Things with Michael have been getting a little bit better. He is calmer and is trying to manage his big  emotions. Even with that, there were days when he would act up in a verbally aggressive way or escalate with anxiety really quickly, and at first glance I did not know why. Only after he apologized and had calmed down enough, did he tell me, “I miss you Mommy. I want to spend time with you. OR “Do you want to bake with me, OR “Why don’t you want to take me places like last year?” That is when I began to see that some of the behaviors were due to loneliness and not being able to occupy himself alone. When I began planning out mother/son fun activities things started getting better. I also started noticing that at other times, he seemed tired, was coming down with a virus, or was stressed about an upcoming activity. All of these things would cause some sort of  behavioral reaction and things to begin to escalate.

It took me a while to see the signs though. Sometimes as parents we are so busy that we do not connect the dots of our children’s behavior to them desiring attention. It’s the old “bad attention is better than no attention at all.” We know our kids are testing us, but don’t take it to the next step, investigating why. This is where it is important to start noting when and where kids are acting up. What is going on in their life to be causing stress, and what could be changed or altered to help them feel comfortable, calm and in control reasonably? Many times working with a behavioral technician or psychologist as well as a parent coach is a parent’s best option. But before they do any of this, be a detective for your child and spot signs that could be showing you why they are off. In Michael’s case, I know he really misses the one on one time with me and the changes that getting older has brought-more homework, responsibility. I am working hard with him to build a schedule where he has control, flexibility, yet needs to understand the responsibilities his parents have too. As well, he needs to learn to occupy himself, something we are also in the process of teaching him.

Exceptional Parents, what kinds of behaviors do your kids exhibit and how do you navigate them? Remember, the important thing is to look for little signs that things could be off and figure out why. Finding a good support team is mandatory as you learn to read your child, but there is no substitute in the end for trusting your instinct about your child and what could be wrong. Voice these concerns to professionals by all means, but also remember to chart your own observations and see what pattern is emerging so you can figure out how best to help your child through their difficult moments. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.